If your day is anything like mine, it’s filled up with dozens of very small things, and when we only make an inch of progress everyday, sometimes it can get discouraging.

I recently stumbled upon the book The Compound Effect by Daren Hardy where he illustrates how our small choices each day add up to something huge.

He says,

“The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. What’s most interesting about this process to me is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don’t feel significant. Whether you’re using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else for that matter, the changes are so subtle, they’re almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result, no big win, no obvious I-told-you-so payoff. So why bother?

Most people get tripped up by the simplicity of the Compound Effect. … What they don’t realize is that these small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.”

He then goes on to give the example of the magic penny.

Suppose you were given two choices:

1. I give you $ 3 Million dollars today.


2. I give you a penny and double it everyday for 31 days.

Which would you choose?

The doubling penny isn’t worth much on day 1.

  • By day 5 it’s up to 16 cents.
  • By day 10 it’s valued at $5.12
  • Day 20 is still significantly less at $5, 243
  • But then… the magic starts to happen…

  • By Day 31 the magic doubling penny is valued at $10,737,418.24 !!

  • I’ve been thinking ever since about how this has played a part in my life, as well as ways that I want to integrate it even more.

    I recently started teaching my 5 year old piano lessons. I have 2 degrees in music and 15 years of teaching piano under my belt, but despite my experience and high standard that I had in the past, I knew that I needed to carefully approach the situation of teaching my own child. I set my expectation at having a mini lesson everyday for five minutes with the magic pennies in mind. A little tiny bit everyday will have a greater effect than a full 30 minute lesson once a week without any follow through. (which is the typical story I saw as a piano teacher.) Even a year from now, those five minutes a day are going to pay back greatly.

    I haven’t written much about this yet, but after I finished creating my Digital Detox class, I suddenly found that I had some extra time in my day—not being addicted any longer to being online. I randomly decided that I was going to learn how to quilt. This was a pretty big shock to everyone, as I have never really sewn anything in my life. Thanks to youtube, and some amazing online classes, I’ve now created three full size quilts and a baby quilt just in the past five months. And most of that has been in random 5-20 minute sessions, doing just a little bit a day.

    At the beginning of 2015, I set the goal to read scripture and pray every day. When I was single, I was great at this. Then I got married. Then had children. And suddenly it appeared that quiet time to myself was too unpredictable to be consistent at it as a daily practice. Yet, my soul was yearning for the benefits. I’m proud to say that I haven’t yet missed a single day of 2015. Sometimes I read and pray with chaos happening around me, but I make it happen. And in many ways I feel like my spirit has seen the magic penny effect after that much consistency. I’m slower to anger, quicker to say sorry and make things right, and most of all, I feel more grounded and in tune with the daily direction I need from God.

    The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices.

    Isn’t it an amazing and encouraging principle?! It makes me excited to look for ways to make more small SMART choices that will add up over time.

    How have you seen the compound effect play out in your own life?

    bwselfie Brooke Snow delights in the pursuit of a meaningful life. Sign up for her FREE e course “Living A Thriving Life” to learn more about how to find true balance in your life. Brooke lives in Northern Utah with her calm husband, adventurous 5 year old son and bouncy baby girl.

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